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The Dynamic Power Behind Rumah Mode

What was once home to a garment company, Rumah Mode is now a well-known fashion outlet in Bandung that welcomes up to 4,000 visitors on a regular weekend. Hie Min Tjhin, its founder and owner, and Anthony M, principal designer of ANT design firm, strived for Rumah Mode to become a multi-use complex that showcases the latest fashion finds within a charming interior style. Indonesia Design sat with Hie Min Tjhin and Anthony to discover more about Rumah Mode’s journey.

Photo by Bagus Trilaksono

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Can you share a little background of Rumah Mode?

HMT: Rumah Mode was opened in 1998. In the beginning, the main colonial house, which is now the food court area, was for my garment company, Texa. However, as we overproduced quite a lot, we started selling the clothing here.

AM: The function of the house gradually changed from the original. We developed the tropical design approach but we kept the colonial architecture feel as the main concept.

Why did you choose F. Widayanto ceramic as part of the decoration on the floor?

AM: We were originally thinking to do a batik carpet, but F. Widayanto ceramic is perfect to be developed into this concept. It’s also durable.

HMT: It was actually the design of the late Yuwono who wanted to add a special nuance. He used to be based in Bali, which was where he got most of his design influence from. There are various artworks and sculptures including some works from I Wayan Winten, F. Widayanto, Ketut Winata, Syahrizal Koto, to a sacred Javanese King umbrella from Solo in Rumah Mode. A multi-use complex like Rumah Mode is quite rare. Perhaps it is the only one of its kind.

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Could you walk us through the thought process?

AM: We actually worked towards the tourist need with what we had. We were preparing a one-stop complex as Bandung traffic can be quite bad. By making a multi-purpose complex like this we can provide almost all of their needs without having to deal with the city’s traffic.

HMT: One of the ways we tried to maintain a sense of originality in the complex is by serving authentic Sundanese in our food court.

Hie Min Tjhin, what is your personal interior design style?

HMT: For my house, personally, I like it eclectic with a Mediterranean feel and a semi-classic look. I don’t like minimalist design. I really enjoy rich designs. What is your design philosophy for Rumah Mode?

AM: To me, being comfortable at the workplace is of the utmost importance. I thought about how the stock distribution would occur from arrival, checking in, until the final presentation on the retail floor. I did the layout first and worked my way to the design. The design philosophy in Rumah Mode follows the tropical design approach within the existing colonial architecture feel. As we are a fashion outlet, it is completely a different approach compared to a department store. I wanted to create an inviting ambiance for shopping that would generate comfort instead of confusion.

As a person who believes in FengShui, to what extend did you implement this in Rumah Mode’s design?

HMT: I was inspired by Wynn hotel in Las Vegas. The owner learned all the wind directions and best location before building the hotel. In the same regard, I created chi energy through the landscape and pond around the whole complex. We also built the door to a specific measurement and placed it in a specific position that is both functional and FengShui-appropriate. Hie Min Tjhin, what is your biggest challenge in keeping Rumah Mode as the top leader in the industry?

HMT: It is a challenge to find good quality products at an affordable price. We also have to keep up with the fashion trend in order to keep our customers interested.

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Could you tell us about your ownfashion brand, Minimal?

HMT: I started getting in the textile business 25 years ago in this house before we finally moved it when the business grew. We exported a lot to Europe and the USA. My son was the one who started Minimaland now the brand has grown into a large ready-to-wear fashion brand in Indonesia. We saw the new empty area behind Rumah Mode.

What is your plan for that area?

AM: I am thinking to do a terrace or patio to complement the main area.

HMT: I am planning to do something new that would be another point ofattraction for Rumah Mode.

What is the future for RumahMode?

HMT: All of this started as a hobby tome, because I like fashion. Now, Rumah Mode serves between 1,300 visitors on the weekdays, to 4,000 visitors on the weekend, with a total of 2,200 employees. For the future, I will only strive to keep up with the interests of our customer and maintain everything as is.

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